A number of cities are pilot testing a new EMS protocol as a way to save money. This new system is being called the “Late Alive” response model. For cities using late alive, EMTs wait 2 hours after the 911 calls are received to respond to the scene.Currently five Southern and Midwestern towns are testing this model. In these towns the local ambulances have been switched out for lower cost hatchbacks. EMTs respond to the scene two hours after the initial call.
If the patient is alive but unconscious, the EMTs load and go.
If the patient is alive and conscious the call is not deemed an emergency. Thus the patient is advised they should drive themselves to the ER. If the patient demands transport, that transport needs to be paid for in cash before they get loaded.
If the patient is deceased the down time is assumed to be about two hours so the patient is pronounced.
Dispatchers are advising callers that there will be a two-hour delay. Many patients are then telling dispatch they will find a ride or ask for the number to the taxi service.
According to Chief Hagenberg “This has become the most effective way to utilize my volunteer emergency service professionals.”
Citizens are not as upset as most people would think. Many of the people we talked to feel that EMS is abused. So this protocol will put an end to that abuse. It will also cut back on the city budget, saving tax dollars.
Some larger markets are also looking at this system for full time fire department based EMS also. Once this initial pilot testing is done, expanded testing will be explored.